The opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new industry has a Metro East entrepreneur moving forward with plans for a medical marijuana operation, even though there is no guarantee of being granted a license by the state of Illinois.
Mitch Meyers is a partner with NCC LLC, which stands for Nature's Care Company. She says the company has already invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into a potential cultivation center and dispensary near Marissa in St. Clair County.
It's an expensive proposition with permit fees, lawyer costs and architectural expenses on top of application costs for the state, which include a first year registration fee of $200,000.
"We believe the state rightfully created all the hurdles to the application process and the cost of doing business to keep it to the good players," said Meyers, who is not expecting to hear back from the state until after November's general election.
Her company is not alone.
The state has received nearly 160 applications for 22 cultivation centers and more than 200 for 60 dispensary licenses that will be awarded under the Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act.
The deadline to submit applications was Monday.
Even though the state will not make a decision for weeks, Meyers says her company is moving forward with plans to build the operation.
"In our case, we have new construction. We are not taking a building and converting it for cultivation."
The state wants successful applicants to have marijuana available for the pilot program by mid-to-late summer next year.
The NCC operation would start with approximately 30 workers, with the possibility of adding more employees.
“We’re building this facility for future growth,” said Meyers.